A Desperate Trek Across America

Florida panhandle, Fall 1528

The 250 starving Spanish adventurers dubbed the shallow estuary near their campsite the “Bay of Horses,” because every third day they killed yet another draft animal, roasted it, and consumed the flesh. Fifty men had already died of disease, injury, and starvation. What was worse, after having walked the length of Florida without finding gold, those still alive had lost contact with their ships. They were stranded in an alien continent. Read more »

Raiders Of The Lost City

In July 1911 the author’s father climbed a remote ridge in Peru to discover, amid an almost impenetrable jungle, the fabled lost city of Machu Picchu, last capital of the Inca Empire. Or so the story goes.

 

During the seventy-five years since Hiram Bingham first climbed the knifelike ridge above the Urubamba canyon, in Peru, and set foot in the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu, thousands following his trail have felt their spirits lifted by the grandeur of the setting and the splendor of the granite ruins. The great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda was inspired to make Machu Picchu the focus of an epic poem on human suffering and aspiration.Read more »

The Voyage Of Nor’west John

Curiosity motivated the first American who crossed Siberia. But he also made a handsome profit.

In August, 1804, a young sea captain named John deWolf sailed from his native port of Bristol, Rhode Island, on a voyage to the Pacific. Four years were to elapse before he returned from a fabulous adventure that had taken him around the world. In the course of his trip, he had spent a year in the lonely outposts of Russian Alaska and had crossed the wastes of Siberia—a feat accomplished by no American before him, and few Europeans.

The Elizabethans And America

“To push back the consciousness of American beginnings, beyond Jamestown, beyond the Pilgrims, to the highwater mark of the Elizabethan Age” -- Part One of a New Series.

With this account of the Great Queen and her captains and their struggle to master a great prize—the New World—we commence a series of articles specially prepared for AMERICAN HERITAGE by A. L. Rowse, Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and author of many distinguished books, among them The England of Elizabeth. The series is based on Dr. Rowse’s recent George Macaulay Trevelyan Lectures, given at Cambridge University and named for the dean of British historians.Read more »

La Salle And The Discovery Of The Great West

The story of La Salle’s exploration was magnificently told in Francis Parkman’s The Discovery of the Great West. First published in 1860, this classic work was completely revised after Parkman gained access to a treasure trove of French manuscripts, and was republished in 1879. A selection from Parkman’s history, dealing with La Salle and the episodes which are shown in the Catlin paintings, begins below.

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A Record Filled With Sunlight

John Charles Frémont never succeeded in living up to his fame, yet he was one of America’s great explorers

Rolling plains covered with dry bunch grass stretch for miles on every side. Far on the northern horizon lifts an enormous square-topped butte, giving individuality to that quarter of the landscape. Westward, faint in the distance but brought into hard relief as the sun sets, are penciled the snowy peaks of an isolated mountain chain; and close inspection shows that near their base the country dips into a narrow valley, with cottonwoods indicating a stream whose waters are fed by these distant summits.

 
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